Saturday, September 15, 2012

Florist Express Just Isn't...

Those of you who read my blog posts know that my tolerance for bad customer service is relatively low especially when I work with a particular company frequently. I had an experience today that I think it is important to share with an e-commerce company called Florist Express. I usually order gifts and flowers from a company called ProFlowers, which I've had generally good experience with. Today, I needed a birthday floral arrangement delivered the same day, which ProFlowers sends to their "preferred partner" Florist Express. I'm assuming given the co-branding on certain pages, ProFlowers has a revenue sharing arrangement with Florist Express whereby Florist Express takes and fulfills same-day delivery orders.

Florist Express is a "preferred" and co-branded partner of Proflowers.

I placed my order for flowers and birthday balloons this morning. The web site indicated that I had to place my order for the zip code I was delivering to by 2:00pm. With hours left to go before the cut-off, I  placed my order and went on with my day. The number of places on the site that list reassuring messages about the company's abilities suggests that it takes its responsibility for same day delivery seriously. The main page banner has the company's phone number and tagline "florist arranged bouquets delivered today." The very next banner reads "all products on ProFlowers Florist Express can be delivered by our local florists TODAY!" The very next logo has large text that proclaims "Flowers Delivered TODAY!" along with a "100% On-Time Florist Express Guarantee." Several additional locations on the page suggest or guarantee that this company can get your flowers to their intended recipient not just today, but TODAY!

The number of places on the site that list reassuring messages about the company's
abilities suggests that it takes its responsibility for same day delivery seriously.

Imagine my disappointment and chagrin at receiving a phone call at 5:15pm EST on Saturday evening advising me that despite all the assurances on the site, the order could not in-fact be delivered today. Hours after I might be able to place a replacement order with someone else, Florist Express left me high and dry, up the proverbial creek without much of a paddle. There goes the company's "100% On-Time Guarantee."

The customer service agent quite formulaically offered to deliver the same order two days late, with a (presumably) form letter apology from the company suggesting that it had been the company's fault that the order was not delivered. I would still pay full price for the non-delivered flowers but apparently rest my consolation on the heartfelt computer generated apology produced by the same company that had made and broken its promises. I suggested to the customer service agent that the company should, at minimum, refund the order amount and still deliver the flowers as a gesture of true apology. "I wouldn't be able to do that sir," came the response from my helpful Florist Express agent. Having made a mockery of Florist Express' on-time guarantee, the agent's offer to me destroyed the company boldly stated "satisfaction guaranteed" promise. I wasn't satisfied and the company didn't care.

So, a word of caution to you those of you who view flowers as mission critical. Birthday, anniversary, or funeral? Order from Florist Express ( and you may just miss it by a few days. But don't worry, I'm sure the form letter apology will suffice.

There goes the satisfaction guarantee too: I wasn't satisfied
and the company didn't care.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Democratic National Convention - First Night Recap

I spent part of my evening watching the DNC's convention being held in Charlotte. The speech of the evening belonged to Governor Deval Patrick, from my home state of Massachusetts, who gave the audience the gem that Mitt Romney, as governor, was "more interested in having the job than doing the job."

I thought Governor Martin O'Malley, who was Mayor of Baltimore when I was a law clerk at the Federal Court there, was good, on point, and got his message across that America should move "forward, not back," a message that was reinforced by convention goers wielding placards.

The keynote was delivered by San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who was the first Latino keynote speaker at a Democratic National Convention and was introduced to the convention by his twin brother who is running for US Congress.  His performance, with a touching tribute to his immigrant grandmother and mother wasn't as strong as I had expected. While his focus on investments in education as a necessary condition for future economic growth in America is on point, he didn't have the depth to really move the convention. That said, he was better than many of the speakers at least week's RNC convention in terms of audience response.

The last big speech of the evening belonged to First Lady Michelle Obama, who spoke passionately about the President and her role as a mother and First Lady. I thought she humanized both the President and the basis of his decision making, suggesting that his was a personal cause not a political one. Her tribute to her father and her emphasis on her roll as "mother in chief" as she called it, was moving.

I agree with CNN analyst and former advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton, David Gergen, that the Democrats showed up ready for prime time and are on track to handily beat the impact of last week's RNC convention if their performances continue at the current pace.  Not hard to agree with Gergen given how bad some of the RNC speeches were, including the bizarre one from Academy Award winner Clint Eastwood.

Stay tuned.

Elizabeth Warren for US Senate

I like Scott Brown.

He seems like a nice guy. But, in this age of national and global turbulence, I believe Massachusetts deserves better than nice.

Economic reform. Healthcare. Abortion. The Supreme Court. Welfare. Our basic liberties.

Nice is good. We deserve the best.

I'm with Elizabeth Warren.